Central to occult beliefs is the doctrine that every natural thing emanates a kind of sphere of light-emitting "vital energy", normally called the aura. The doctrine takes some of its potency from the fact that, as long ago as in ancient Egypt, the existence of something that might have been similar to what modern occultists call the aura had been speculated upon. In 15th-century Europe Paracelsus brought the subject up. Towards the end of the 19th century, it became a popular manifestation in Supernatural Fiction, and was readily perceivable by Occult Detectives. The aura should be distinguished from the apparent energy field – possibly an illusion – perceived by Kirlian photographs as surrounding any living tissue. [JC]
see also: Astral Body.